Last week, ESPN, the number one cable sports network in this country announced several layoffs to cope with their dwindling subscription base. Among the layoffs were several prominent on-air personalities and where this will end is any ones guess. These layoffs signal what is fast becoming a sign of the times; cable television is fast becoming a complete and expensive ripoff for many households and people are cutting the cord in record numbers. While I have not yet canceled my cable, I often wonder why I even have the cable in this first place. It is becoming more and more expensive every year and what do I get out of it?
I used to be addicted to ESPN during my younger days, especially during my college days. I scheduled my day around watching Sports Center at night and in the morning. That enthusiasm towards the sports network has rapidly diminished in recent years. I now get several all-sports networks dedicated to a particular sport. For example, I get the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL networks along with the golf channel so anytime I have a craving for some hi-lights or analysis of a particular league, I just tune on one of those channels and I get my sports fix. No need for ESPN anyone. I have plenty of sports channels. However, as most cable subscribers already know, it is impossible to get rid of ESPN if you have a sports package. You are not allowed to pick just one sports network, they are all included in one package; one of the many downfalls of having cable television. You get several channels, but how many do you actually watch? I know I probably only watch less than 10 channels of the over 100 channels that I receive.
So the question is this, why should people like us pay these ridiculous prices for cable? What do we get out of having ESPN when I can go to my computer or smartphone and get the latest updates along with good analysis on a sports league. Times are changing my friends and ESPN better wake up too before the network starts losing even more viewers. So same can be said about those cable companies. People are starting to find alternative ways of entertainment and cable television may become a thing of the past in the very near future.
There has been some talk about ESPN turning off some viewers because they are becoming a leftist sports network and I think there is some truth to that. Many of us sports fans do not want to be constantly lectured on how inclusive we must be. When ESPN gave out their courage award to a transgender person a few years ago, I was extremely turned off by the network. They bypassed several more deserving athletes who exhibited far greater acts of courage. And how much more coverage are they going to have for Michael Sam? Does anyone really care that he is a gay football player? The political correctness on other issues has been rather nauseating to say the least! Sports and politics do not mix well and ESPN has lost some viewers because of their insistence to cover social issues. Please leave that to the talking heads at Fox and CNN.
I believe many lessons can be learned from these unfortunate layoffs at ESPN. Would anyone really miss ESPN if they went out of business and became an extinct network? Most sports fans these days probably would not. We have other alternatives to rely on. Why does that network insist on covering NFL football games and paying that extremely high rate for the rights thus making the network more expensive to cable providers. There are other networks that do a much better job of covering the NFL. ESPN does a great job of covering major college sporting events, perhaps they should stick with that.
Hopefully the brains behind the network can come up with some creative solutions in the near future or else they will not last. All businesses in any field have to adapt to the times and ESPN is just another business struggling to find solutions to stop the hemorrhaging of subscribers. Every day, I am finding that ESPN is nothing special in my viewing habits. The cost of paying for that network is not worth it anyone.
There are many things that make me extremely nervous in my life. For example, when I stand in front of a large group of people to give a speech, that causes my blood pressure to rise ever so slightly, or when I walk down a dark alley at night. I never know who is lurking around the corner to rob me. Also included in this list is watching my favorite sports teams participate in the playoffs. Yes, that is right! Being a sports fan around playoff time is not kind to your heart health to say the least. I know many fans know exactly what I am talking about. It can be extremely excruciating to sit through an overtime in an important playoff game. Sometimes we fans are more nervous than the players and coaches themselves!
I don’t have a real strong passion for any of the NBA or NHL playoff teams, but I can just tell from watching the games on television that passion is extremely strong in those cities. During a recent closely contested NHL playoff game that I watched, the camera zoomed in on some of the fans and it seemed like some were an absolute nervous wreck. Unfortunately, the home team lost in overtime and one shot of a fan really caught my attention. It was a young female fan, perhaps 20 years old. She was crying uncontrollable after the loss. I kept thinking how her evening most of been completely ruined by the sudden loss. Hopefully she did not jump off some nearby bridge on her way home. It was a very touching camera shot to say the least. When you invest in so much time and energy to support a particular team during the season and they come up short, it can be a very difficult emotional trauma to deal with. On the flip side, when your favorite team makes a big playoff run, it is the greatest thing in the world. You are overcome with the franchise fever and that is a good fever to have!
I have to admit that I tend to fall into the category of overly passionate sports fan. There are times when I cannot sit and watch an important playoff game when my team is playing. It is just too stressful especially if I am watching it myself. I have to remind myself that the world will still exist even though my team may lose. If my team does lose a big game and are knocked out of the playoffs, I always look ahead and think about the future. Maybe this wasn’t the time for them to advance deep into the playoffs. They are too young. As a sports fan, you always have to have hope for the future. That is the number one way of getting over a huge playoff disappointment.
In the grand scheme of things, there are far more important things to get nervous about than some stupid game played by extremely wealthy individuals. But don’t tell that to those rabid sports fans who live and die on the success of their teams, especially come playoff time. For them, nothing else matters in the world. It is funny how sports team tend to influence people in that matter. Especially when those fans have absolutely no control over how their team performs. I cannot stand at the free throw line and knock down some free throws. Or stop a shot in overtime. Perhaps we as fans including myself should take a step back and realize how much fun those games are instead of going through the emotional torture chamber of sitting and watching a crucial playoff game. Our heart may thank us for it.
In an extremely stunning announcement, Fox News announced last week that they have fired perhaps their most popular host ever, Bill O’Reilly over sexual harassment allegations. O’Reilly had hosted a show called “The Factor” on weekday nights and that show had held one of the top rating slots in cable prime time for several years. Already, several media pundits are declaring the end of Fox News. O’Reilly’s departure is the second big name to leave the network in the last year. Megan Kelly, who hosted a show immediately after O’Reilly, left the network within the past year. I am sure that Fox News will take a little bit of hit over these high-profile departures, but to declare them dead? please! They have plenty of talent ready to step in and fill the void.
I have to admit that I was a frequent viewer of O’Reilly’s show and will miss him greatly. His show was number one in the ratings for a reason, it was very entertaining for a political show and was not one of these liberal or conservative love fests that many cable political shows seem to be these days. Many points of view were debated on the show and it was a program that appealed to many political points of views. I also loved the fact that he stressed the importance of solid, truthful facts which again many networks fail woefully in giving the viewers. On top of these things, he added humor to the show with the likes of Dennis Miller and Jesse Watters. It will be hard to beat a show filled with that type of a lineup.
O’Reilly’s replacement. Tucker Carlson, is a very solid host and is more than able to fill the void. One of the things that really strikes me about the few times that I have watched his show is the guests that he has. They have completely different political than he has yet his discussions and debates with them are very entertaining and respectful. He does not talk over his guests and is very fair to them. I think Carlson is one of the most underrated cable news show hosts today. He is a very good upcoming talent.
Fox News has plenty of critics and I am sure that they are beaming with joy these days. That joy will be short-lived when they realize that Fox will still maintain their number one ratings and continue to dominate CNN and something called MSNBC. Fox seems to get it when it comes to giving the viewers what they need to hear. Fair and balanced reporting is their theme and they do an excellent job of it. O’Reilly will be missed by many including this blogger, but Fox News will go on and still be a very solid network where people can actually get some truth to the important issues of the day.
The Easter holiday is not just about Easter bunnies and Easter egg hunts. It is a religious holiday when Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of the Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity. While Christianity remains the most popular religion here in the United States and among the most popular around the world, the level of ignorance about this particular religion and towards those who practice the Christian faith is rather astonishing. I have seen people on social media who claim that Jesus Christ was some sort of fairy tale character who never really existed. Many generalize all Christians and followers as Christ as being very judgmental, bigoted, narrow-minded and holy than thou people. One person even expressed his opinion that Christians and Christianity in general are a major problem in this world. The false claims against the faith are endless and continue to grow. I find that to be extremely disturbing especially considering that practicing true Christianity can go a long ways towards solving many of today’s problems in the world. As a practicing Christian, I would like to discuss some issues that people have with the Christian religion.
Most of us have a certain perception of what a perfect world would be like. Imagine a world where people actually put other people’s needs ahead of their own and many are willing to step out and help people in need. That is a major theme of the Christian faith that often goes unnoticed. There are many Christians around the world who go about honoring the Lord by serving others. Wouldn’t it be great if more people in this world were willing to put aside their “me first” attitude and put the needs of others ahead of their own? Our world would be a much better place to live.
The word love towards others is often discussed in Christianity and that is sorely lacking in today’s society. We do want to love our fellow citizens because they happen to disagree with us or live a different lifestyle. Wouldn’t it be great to live in a world where there was a huge amount of love towards one another? We would have much better families and better people in our society because of being brought up in loving families. There would be far less crime in our cities and fewer international conflicts in the world.
The main focus of Christianity are the teachings of Jesus Christ. How can teachings of love, kindness, humility and serving others be a harmful thing to teach? A lot people believe the Christian faith is just a bunch of rules designed to take away their freedoms but that is not the case at all. Engaging in adultery may seem to be fun and adventurous for a while until the consequences of such behavior surface. And the person committing those acts suffer along with many others. Who would in their right minds want to suffer the results that often arise from living an immoral lifestyle? Living a moral Christian lifestyle gives one much greater happiness and a peace of mind.
I know a lot of people are turned off by Christians who are very outspoken about judging others without first looking in the mirror and I am one of them. I do not believe that it my duty to judge others; my God will do the honor. It is not a very tactful way to garner an unbeliever’s attention by essentially saying that your lifestyle is superior to theirs. Even worse is completely avoiding them. Did Jesus avoid the sinners during his time on earth? Absolutely not! Just because that co-worker of yours is an atheist doesn’t mean that you should avoid them at all costs.
The fact of the matter is that Christianity represent all that SHOULD BE GOOD with the world. Anyone who disagrees really needs to study Christianity. Sadly in today’s growing secular world, we have many folks such as that writer who views Christianity as a major problem in this world. How can something with so many positives things attached to it be a bad thing for this world?